creativity: low budget & high concept

Jesse Marinoff Reyes ( Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design ) Low budget,high concept and mixing the mediums…

The Rocket
August 1987 issue
Photograph: Karen Moskowitz
Design: Dale Yarger (1950-2012)
Art Director: Art Chantry (b. 1954)

---I remember! I set up a number of posters as "mechanicals" on large sheets of tracing tissue (usually the kind you had to buy in a roll, since none of the tissue pads were quite big enough) to run through the Diazo machine (I'd forgotten that name!). One poster I did that way was a hip hop musical. There was enough budget left over after "printing" the run, that I was able to have the title silkscreened onto the Diazo sheets. All thanks to Dale.---JMR

Another design in our ongoing tribute to my friend, Dale Yarger.

I remember when this issue hit the newsstands* in Seattle (*being a free paper, it was distributed liberally and being large format, usually sat as a stack in a convenient location, as well as in distribution boxes on the street) and was immediately floored. Sure, it was an Ozzy Osbourne cover (I wasn’t so much a metal worshipper but recognized the import of a Seattle appearance by one of metal’s most important figures), but as a contributing designer to The Rocket at the time (I actually have a page design inside this issue) it was the design of this cover that reached “11″ on my mental amplifier.

My old friend and mentor Art Chantry was doing one of his many stints as The Rocket’s art director, so something special was always, always in the offing when he had something to do with it—but there was something else familiar about the graphic technique used for this image, but what? Cracking open the issue’s contents page to check the credits revealed the explanation and the reason for even greater excitement. From the get-go, it was a heavyweight matchup of three of The Rocket’s premiere talents—Chantry’s art direction bringing together the endlessly resourceful Rocket photographer Karen Moskowitz with the exceptional design chops of Dale Yarger. The reason the graphic technique was familiar was a particular innovation on Dale’s part that he had passed along to me in yet another act of ongoing generosity (which I used on a number of posters, including for a client that Dale had established the technique for, but passed along to me when he moved on).

Dale, like myself and especially Art Chantry, was a regular poster designer in Seattle—back in those days “gigposters” weren’t as common as they are now, but posters for arts organizations and theatre companies were. Such groups were always strapped for cash, so it wasn’t so much a means to make a living as to support the arts community and get “your name” out there, more or less. Not having much cash for designers also meant not having much cash for printers, so innovative approaches to getting work printed was also a hallmark of the Seattle poster scene. Dale, being more clever than most, came upon the idea to “print” posters on large sheets of blueprint paper, by running a mechanical “original” through a commercial blueprint machine and thereby making multiple copies which could then be distributed as printed posters—even though it was in a sense, a glorified photo copy (but at sizes much larger than a photocopier could render.

Here, Dale utilized much the same technique, creating something of a mechanical construction of Moskowitz’s photograph and (a grunged-up version of) the masthead as base art, then rendering the rest of the design as a traditional production mechanical. Did I get that right, Art?

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